You can easily run a Linux distribution alongside your Windows setup thanks to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). In this post, we'll walk you through the simple process of setting up WSL and installing Debian on your Windows 11 machine.

Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

You can either enable it using GUI or command line

Via Windows Features GUI

Open Windows Features, check "Windows Subsystem for Linux" and accept.

Via command line

Open PowerShell or CMD as an administrator and run this command:

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart

Enable Virtual Machine Platform

Run this command on the Powershell or CMD as an administrator:

dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart

Example output

C:\>dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:VirtualMachinePlatform /all /norestart

Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool
Version: 10.0.22621.1

Image Version: 10.0.22621.2361

Enabling feature(s)
The operation completed successfully.

Restart the computer to apply the changes of the previous steps

Install WSL2

Enter the microsoft website by clicking this link, ...

... download the Linux kernel update package and install it:

C:\>wsl --set-default-version 2
For information on key differences with WSL 2 please visit
The operation completed successfully.
If you run the Debian software before installing WSL2, you can come across this error below ("Error: 0x800701bc WSL 2 requires en update to its kernel component")

Install a Linux Distribution like Debian

Open Microsoft Store, search for "Debian" and and install it

Setup your Debian distribution

Launch Debian from the Start menu or by typing debian in the command prompt.

During the first launch, you'll be prompted to create a new user and set a password.

That's it! You can now enjoy the power of Linux alongside your Windows environment. Enjoy it!